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How To Assist ESL Students Prepare For Examinations

ESL students have to sit for a great variety of examinations such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and more. Since they have a language barrier to subdue, these testing practices can be very burdensome for them. Therefore, it is your choice as a teacher to aid these students during this stressful period.

Luckily, there are numerous techniques that you can try to assist your students in preparing for examinations. You can help them overcome any difficulties as long as you follow the proper structure. Without further ado, here are several steps that you need to do for your students:

Fortunately for you, there are many tactics that you can try. As long as you follow the right structure, you should be able to help your students prepare without too much difficulty. So, without further ado, here is what you will need to do:

1. Reinforce Memory

The most important task as a teacher is to ensure that your students can remember what they learned in the classroom. It will help them to answer any questions that require a precise solution. Therefore, you need to start teaching the lesson to make the information retains in their minds.

You may include audio and visuals in your lessons to activate vast parts of their brains. The method will cause greater engagement and retention. It would help if you also made sure that they physically take notes to stimulate more parts of their brains.

It is also crucial to repeat the same substances multiple times as it can reinforce the existing memories in their minds, and they will still be able to recall most of the information even though they learned it a few weeks ago.

To start with, including both audio and visual elements in your lessons. Doing so will activate a greater number of parts of your students’ brains. This, in turn, will lead to more engagement and greater retention. You can also make sure that they physically take notes so that even more sections of their brains are stimulated.

It is also important to go over the same material every so often. This way, you will be reinforcing existing memories in your students’ minds. So, even if the initial lesson was weeks away, they will still be able to recall a majority of the information.

2. Set Learning Goals for Each Section

Some students are not interested in learning a particular lesson because they do not understand why they need to learn it and consider it unnecessary to know about certain information. It would be best if you let them know the subject’s objectives before starting the learning session.

First of all, you need to set learning goals for each section of the subject and give a quick rundown on why they need to understand the knowledge. It will possibly help them feel more excited to learn the lesson and reinforce the information in their minds.

It would help if you focused on what exactly you want students to know about the topic. You may come out with as many goals as you want to break down the information into understandable parts. You can also make a measuring tool to check how much data they can store.

Therefore, one of the first things that you will need to do is to set learning goals for each section. First, of course, outline why it is significant for your students to understand this information. Hopefully, this should prime them for retention.

Then, focus on what precisely it is that you want your students to learn about this topic. Create as many goals as you need to help breakdown the information into more understandable chunks. By doing this, you will also create a measuring tool to determine just how many details the students were able to retain.

3. Assess Their Abilities at Intervals

There is no point in moving on to the next topic if your students still do not comprehend the previous chapter’s existing concepts. This is why you need to make small quizzes at the end of every section to assess their abilities.

You will find out which parts have been understood and which portions are still confusing them. These quizzes will assist your students individually as they will show them which parts they need to improve personally.

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4. Teach Students about the Criteria of the Examination

Teaching your students about the relevant information is not enough to aid them to prepare for examinations. It would help if you showed them how to transfer the information to apply what they have learned in the exam papers as each question is structured differently.

For example, some questions require them to choose only one correct answer from several options, and then other questions ask them to write short answers in an essay format. Every problem in the exam papers carries a different mark with it as well.

Hence, you should explain to them how to answer each question correctly, such as one sentence is enough for a one-mark question. Meanwhile, the answer that must be written in essay format should be arranged with an introduction, three paragraphs containing three main points, and a conclusion.

Once they know how to answer every question accurately, they will write more concise answers and intuitively earn higher points.

5. Revise Past Year Exam Papers

Going through every question in past year’s exam papers and learning the crucial points in it can help ESL students. The technique can take away their anxiousness to take the exam as well.

Most past year exam papers are available online for modern teachers. If you cannot find it, there should be samples as well. You can find as many examples as possible and ask your students to revise them before taking their actual exams to be well-prepared for them.

Once they figure out how the test works, they will apply what they have practiced in real-world testing conditions. It means that they need to complete the examination within the allocated time or not use the dictionary to help them.

Fortunately for modern teachers, most past exam papers are readily available online. Even if you can’t find past papers, there should be sample ones as well. Try to find as many as you can and have your students go through them prior to their real exam. They will then be well-primed for their true test.

Once your students have figured out how the test works, consider doing these practice exams under real-world testing conditions. This could mean that they need to complete the examination within a certain period of time. Or, perhaps they may not be able to use dictionaries or other guides to help them. These tactics should help them to prepare even further.

6. Improve Students' Weakness

The weakness of your students would be revealed through practice tests as well as small quizzes. Sometimes there will be similarities, but you will also discover that some struggle with specific topics.

If your students fail to comprehend a particular concept, you need to teach them again with a different method or break it down into more digestible portions. In any case, you need to make sure that you are trying something new this time to improve their weakness.

If the problem is more individual, you should ask them to solve the question related to their weak points. It causes them to learn these elements again, but they will become more comfortable with the question as well.

These are some ultimate steps to guide your students to prepare for the examination they have to sit for. It may take some time, but your hard work will pay off for you and your students in the end. It would be best if you tried to employ these techniques in your classroom.

 Author’s Biography

Being a teacher for over twenty years, Gloria Gaynor has enhanced her teaching method to help a wider variety of students. She continuously learns a little more about being a better educator whenever she teaches her students.

If your students are failing to grasp a particular concept, then you need to approach it from a different angle. Or, consider breaking it down into more digestible parts. Either way, you need to make sure that you are trying something different this time around.

In case the problem is more individual, have the students solve questions that are related to their weak points. Not only will this result in them studying up on these elements again, but they will also become more comfortable with the questions as well.

These are some of the main ways that you can help your students prepare for virtually any exam that they have to sit for. It may take some time but eventually, your hard work will pay off for you as well as your students. On this note, you should make every effort to incorporate these tactics into your own classroom.

Author Bio

Leslie Sherman has been a teacher for over twenty years. During this time, she has honed her teaching techniques so that she can help a wider variety of students. Every day that she teaches, she learns a little bit more about how to be a better educator.